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La course au centre

Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002

Sally Marthaler

Policy convergence between the political parties and the perception among voters that there is little to choose between left and right may be factors in the declining levels of partisanship observed in many advanced industrial democracies, including France, where these conditions emerged in the 1980s. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article analyzes changes in the actual and perceived level of convergence between the mainstream parties in France from 1981 to 2002. It finds evidence of increasing policy convergence over the period as a result of a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors. It concludes that left-right ideological labels are still important to voters, even though they too have moved to the center, and that many of them want to see a clear dividing-line between the parties. The blurring of the boundaries between left and right and the “reversibility” of the mainstream parties has also enhanced the appeal of alternative and extremist parties.

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The Politics of Empire in Post-Revolutionary France

Naomi J. Andrews and Jennifer E. Sessions

Scholarly attention to the history and legacies of France's overseas empire is a welcome development of the last two decades, but the field of modern French colonial history has become overly focused on the “tensions” and “contradictions” of universalist republican imperialism. This introduction argues that we must recognize the ideological diversity of the French state and the complexity of the relationships between colonial and metropolitan histories in the modern period. The articles in this special issue show the critical role of the non-republican regimes of the nineteenth century in the construction of the modern French empire, and the ways that colonial entanglements shaped processes of post-Revolutionary reconstruction in France under the Restoration (1815–1830), July Monarchy (1830–1848), Second Republic (1848–1851), and Second Empire (1852–1870).

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French Color Blindness in Perspective

The Controversy over "Statistiques Ethniques"

Daniel Sabbagh and Shanny Peer

In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quartercentury, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.

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Representations, History, and Wartime France

Brett Bowles

In a 1989 article published by Annales under the title “Le monde comme représentation,”1 Roger Chartier articulated a conceptual framework for bridging the gap that had traditionally separated the history of mentalities from social and political history. While the former field—pioneered by Georges Duby, Robert Mandrou, and Philippe Ariès in the 1960s—had legitimized the study of collective beliefs, anxieties, and desires as historical phenomena, the latter remained largely devoted to more concrete, easily quantifiable factors such as structures, institutions, and material culture. Drawing on the anthropological and psychoanalytical premises that had informed the work of Michel Foucault, Louis Marin, and Michel de Certeau, among others, Chartier emphasized the performative dimension of individual and collective representations in order to argue that they should be understood not only as evidence registering the exercise of social and political power, but as underlying catalysts of change in their own right. Like habitus, Pierre Bourdieu’s complex model of social causality and evolution, Chartier framed representation as a symbiotic “structuring structure” that deserved to sit at the heart of historical inquiry.

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Introduction

A White Republic? Whites and Whiteness in France

Mathilde Cohen and Sarah Mazouz

In June of 2018, in a cramped and hot room of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, we launched a day-long workshop titled “The White Condition: Reflection on a French Majority” ( La Condition blanche: Réflexion sur

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Black October

Comics, Memory, and Cultural Representations of 17 October 1961

Claire Gorrara

The events of 17 October 1961 have come to stand as a reference point for debates on the extent and nature of French colonial violence. * The brutal police repression of a demonstration of Algerian protesters on the streets of Paris that day cast

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Announcement

The staff of French Politics, Culture & Society is pleased to congratulate STÉPHANE GERSON, Associate Professor of French Studies, New York University, on winning the fifth Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies (2003-2005) awarded by the Association for French Cultural Studies.

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Introduction

Writing History and the Social Sciences with Ivan Jablonka

Nathan Bracher

Ivan Jablonka, a well-published university historian, professor at the Université de Paris 13, and researcher at the Collège de France with the team of Pierre Rosanvallon, has attracted considerable attention with three recent, highly acclaimed

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Le Conseil français du culte musulman

Jonathan Laurence

Politicians and civil servants charged with the task of helping a “French Islam” emerge in late twentieth-century France faced a vast, transnational network of more than 1600 Muslim associations and mosques in dozens of French towns and cities. During the colonial era, Islam in French Algeria was exempted from the 1905 separation of church and state, and no one at the time imagined that one century later, 5 million Muslims would inhabit metropolitan France. The legacy of French and later, Algerian, state oversight of the Muslim religion is still felt within Islam in France today. In the post-colonial period up until the 1980s, French authorities relied on immigrants’ home governments for the accommodation of religious requirements, from the salaries of imams to the creation of prayer spaces.

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Index to Volume 32 (2014)

Articles Special Issue on Representations, History, and Wartime France Special Issue on French Studies and Its Futures Dossier on Technology, the Visual, and Culture Reflections, Events, and Debates Review Essays Book Reviews Index of Books Reviewed